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College Basketball : Kentucky's Cedric Jenkins Repeats His Heroics

December 16, 1987|Robyn Norwood

Cedric Jenkins, a senior who averaged 1.5 points a game last season and had never started until this season, is proving to be an unlikely--but increasingly reliable--star for Kentucky.

Kentucky moved into the top spot in the polls after defeating Indiana two Saturdays ago, and held onto it with a 76-75 victory over Louisville last Saturday. The unlikely hero in both games was Jenkins.

"I'm not one to concentrate on offense too much," said Jenkins, who was scoreless for the first 39 minutes and 58 seconds of the game against Louisville. It was a tip-in by Jenkins just before the horn that gave the Wildcats the victory.

The week before, Jenkins had scored a career-high 14 points on a perfect shooting performance, making five of five shots, and all four of his free throws.

"I wish all our games were on Saturdays," said Jenkins, whose 39-inch sleeve length has earned him the nickname Swoop. Jenkins has plenty more Saturday games ahead of him--possibly, of course, including the National Collegiate Athletic Assn. semifinals April 2 at Kansas City.

Add Kentucky: After the one-point victory over Louisville, the Wildcats are 11-2 in overtime games and games with margins of three points or less in Coach Eddie Sutton's three seasons at Kentucky.

At Loyola of Baltimore, the differences between college basketball's haves and have-nots is apparent.

Although Loyola has had a Division I program for seven years, the school does not have a contract with a shoe company, as is standard at many schools. In a recent game against Maryland, Loyola players sported five different brands of shoes, and at least eight different styles. The only characteristic they shared? All were in the school colors, green and white.

Dean Smith, North Carolina coach, and Jim Valvano, North Carolina State coach, apparently have taken heed of doctors' warnings that stressful life styles and bad habits were taking their toll on the coaches' health.

Smith, who guided the Tar Heels to the 1982 NCAA championship, long has been a chain-smoker and heavy coffee drinker.

But after repeated episodes with nosebleeds, caused in part by those habits, Smith now drinks only decaffeinated coffee and is down to eight cigarettes a day, a number that astonished longtime UNC followers who had never seen him go as long as 45 minutes without a cigarette, other than during a game.

Valvano, whose doctor had warned him of signs of potential heart trouble because of high cholesterol levels, stress and weight gain, has lost 25 pounds, although by a method of dubious merit if he is serious in crediting the loss to a "popcorn and cigar" diet.

Valvano, who guided the Wolfpack to the 1983 NCAA title, apparently took the doctor's advice to heart in part because of his close friendship with Bill Foster, now the coach at Northwestern, who several years ago suffered a heart attack at court-side while he was the coach at South Carolina.

Fennis Dembo shows no sign of giving up his outlandish actions simply because Wyoming is firmly entrenched in the top 10.

After making a basket during a victory over Colorado in the Cowboys' second game, Dembo attempted to high-five Colorado Coach Tom Miller when he passed Miller on his way back downcourt.

Miller, who was standing and gesticulating, managed to avoid Dembo's smack, but Dembo reportedly did manage a high-five with a Colorado player.

Call it Sesqui-Centenary: Centenary's basketball team is nicknamed the Gentlemen, but hardly anyone would have blamed them had not they not been gentlemanly after a 152-84 loss to 13th-ranked Oklahoma Saturday.

Tommy Canterbury, Centenary coach, at first declined to comment after a game in which his team committed 54 turnovers, but later returned to speak highly of Oklahoma.

"This is the best team ever at Oklahoma," Canterbury said. "They can't be any better. They're unrelenting. They're everywhere."

Oklahoma's output was just 12 points shy of the NCAA scoring record set by Nevada Las Vegas against Hawaii Hilo in 1976, and broke the school scoring record of 133. The Sooners had six players in double figures and three over 20. Oklahoma reserves scored 93 points.

The Sooners' 152 points were the most against a Division I school since Jacksonville defeated St. Petersburg, 152-104, in 1970.

Billy Tubbs, Oklahoma coach, simply called the game different.

"There are teams we would like to beat this bad," Tubbs said. "But Centenary isn't one of them."

Centenary, in Shreveport, La., is a member of the Trans America Athletic Conference.

Bob Knight, Indiana's volatile coach, has posed for a charity celebrity pinup calendar to be distributed to about 100,000 high school students across Indiana this month.

Among other featured models in the 1988 Celebrity Buckle Up Calendar, an effort of the Indiana Department of Highways and the Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis: the Indianapolis 500 queen, the Indiana State Fair queen, Miss Indiana, Mr. Indiana and Mrs. Indiana.

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